Polar Plunge fundraiser Saturday at Kerr Lake

Feb. 07, 2013 @ 05:08 PM

Special Olympics Vance County will host its first Polar Plunge fundraiser Saturday morning, inspiring dozens of local supporters to jump in the cold waters of Kerr Lake.

Brave participants will raise a minimum of $30 for their daring dip. Depending on the amount of people they’ve recruited to sponsor their jump, that number could be higher.

“We thought, we have the lake here, so we have a place to do it, so why not try it,” said Julie Allred, recreation program supervisor for Henderson-Vance Parks and Recreation. Allred also heads up the Special Olympics Vance County, and believes the fundraiser will provide a memorable way to spread the word about an organization providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“People will remember why all these crazy people were jumping in the lake,” Allred said. “It will get more word out about our program and hopefully we’ll have more people join us.”

Every year Special Olympics in states and towns across the nation rally their most enthusiastic and daring citizens to take part in such plunges, raising millions of dollars annually.

Recently reported by WAVY-Ch. 10 in Hampton Roads, Va., NBC’s local broadcast affiliate for southeastern Virginia, about 3,300 people participated in the annual Polar Plunge Winter Festival for Special Olympics Virginia. The year’s plunge set an all-time record for most money raised at more than $1.25 million in donations.

“I know Virginia Beach has one they’ve been doing for like 23 years,” said Jessica West, a Henderson police officer who serves on the committee for Vance County Special Olympics. “This is a fundraising opportunity we’re doing for the local level, to raise money for our local Special Olympics.

“Hopefully people come out. It’s our first one and we’re looking to expand it.”

Participants of the event are encouraged to wear creative costumes.

Individual and team prizes will be given for best costume and most money raised. The largest team will also receive a prize.

The Polar Plunge will take place this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Satterwhite Point Glass House. Prizes and recognition of sponsors will be announced prior to the jump.

“It is supposed to be pretty cold by that time of the morning,” Allred said. “I think it’s going to be about 34 or 35. It’s not supposed to rain. It’s supposed to be sunny.

“Hot chocolate will be there for people to enjoy as they please.”

Registration forms must be submitted today, and can be received by contacting Allred at (252) 431-6091. Forms cannot be turned in on day of the event.

Contact the writer at hendersondispatch.com.